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CRD panel approves spending $287,023 for website overhaul

Sep 06 2012

The Capital Regional District will spend almost $300,000 to redesign and rebuild its website.

Members of the CRD's finance and corporate services committee endorsed a staff recommendation to award the $287,023 bid from FCV of Vancouver for the redesign contract. FCV was the lowest of three bidders.

"The current website is about six years old now. It's usefulness has been outstripped by community expectations of what a website should do," said Kelly Daniels, CRD chief administrative officer.

"It clearly has emerged as the key way that the public wants to receive information, and we see a great opportunity in this project to be able to converse - not only a way of providing information but receiving information and receiving input."

A staff report noted that recent focus groups said online participation is an absolute must.

That feedback was supported by telephone surveys conducted in 2009. Of 401 telephone interviews conducted by Ipsos Reid of a random, representative sample of CRD residents, 12 per cent identified the CRD website as their preferred method of communication with the CRD and 13 per cent and five per cent respectively identified online discussion forums and online/website as their preferred method of sharing input with the CRD, the report said.

"I think none of us are satisfied with what we call navigation or access of information around the site," said Andy Orr, CRD senior manager of communications.

More than anything else, the website update is designed both to deliver information "and do better engagement of our communities," Orr said.

"What we are increasingly hearing from people is: 'Let me give you information.' 'Let me give you feedback when it works for me, in my life.' That might be at three in the morning. It might be at five at night or two in the afternoon," he said.

The update likely will take a year to complete, Orr said. "Everything that happens with technology is difficult to anticipate, but we hope to build it in a way that we're back before this group [for approval] very quickly," he said.

The contract award still has to be ratified by the board.

bcleverley@timescolonist.com

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